Monday, February 7, 2011

Purim thoughts, ideas and projects

This year we get extra time to think up and make Purim projects, as we have two Adars.    Purim can really get one's creative juices flowing.  From costume ideas, to mishlach manos ideas,  cooking, baking, packaging ideas.  There are literally thousands upon thousands of possibilities.  All one has to do is search for homemade food gifts, or easy to make costumes, or creative gift wrapping or...  One could just get totally overwhelmed by all the options. There are ideas one can adapt and ideas geared specifically for Purim (see for loads of great Purim activities and ideas). So here is what I like to do.  I get the kids involved in mishlach manos production.  It varies from year to year depending on what is going on around here and how much time and effort I can expand.  For a few years we covered recycled oatmeal cans with colorful contact paper, last year we folded paper hamentashen from colored paper circles. I am contemplating what we should do this year.  I try to start early so we can experiment and see what works and what doesn't and then we can swing into mass production:)  Ideally I like to send real food instead of just junk or predominantly junk.  So we bake, or decorate cookies or biscuits,or make salad.  Some years we did thematic mishlach manos like breakfast:tea bag, oatmeal or a muffin, or cereal and milk or tea time: tea with baked goods.  Someone I know used to send pancakes and fruit and a little pancake syrup box or somebody else sends deli sandwiches with pickles and a drink.  I like to make uncomplicated, kid friendly things and preferably in a frugal fashion.  So the time before Purim can be used for making costumes for the real thing or just for playing, for making or coloring and wearing masks, singing Purim songs, discussing the megilla or just making Purim decorations.  Here are some Purim suncatchers that we made based on a snowflake suncatcher project I posted before.  So unleash your and your kids' creativity.   It doesn't have to be stressful, or very expensive either.  One can enjoy the Purim spirit for more than one day.  But most importantly one has to convey the essential  message of Purim, one of optimism and faith that G-d is the One orchestrating history and leading us to where we have to go in a miraculous way, turning darkness into light and sadness into joy and illuminating our souls.   Purim is about doing G-d's will, modesty, unity and love. And perhaps one should aim to work on those things during the month or months of Adar.  One doesn't have to be fancy, doesn't have to impress anyone.  One just can keep it simple, practical, happy and enjoyable.   Chodesh Adar Sameach, Kodesh U'Mevorach (A happy, holy and blessed Adar)!!!!!

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